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Archive for January, 2012

Ideas come in for Leland cultural arts center

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

The vote signals the first step in turning the building at 1212 Magnolia Village Way into more than just an empty shell.

More: continued here

Wreck slows traffic on North College Road

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The wreck on the northbound side of College happened shortly after 6 p.m.

More: continued here

Two wrestling coaches fired after wrestler injured

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — Two Gaston County high school wrestling
coaches have been fired after an athlete was injured in practice.

The Gaston Gazette reports that South Point High School wrestling coach
Jock Smith and assistant coach John Goodwin were fired on Monday by Gaston
County Schools.

Goodwin said Tuesday it was an accident and he didn’t do it on

The father of 15-year-old Cody Merrill says his son suffered a
broken collarbone last week when Goodwin jerked him into the air
and threw him down to the mat. Shane Merrill said his son’s injury
won’t require surgery, but he will be wearing a sling and must
refrain from physical activity for up to eight weeks, meaning he
will miss the rest of the wrestling season, which was his first.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

More: continued here

ONLY ON 3: A look at CFPUA program to help residents without water

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners want to help county residents struggling to pay their Cape Fear Public Utility Authority bills. It’s a move that has some people asking why the county is getting into the charity business and wondering how the CFPUA’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors program works.

“I had to lift at least five gallons (of water from the stream) just to flush my toilet,” Talmadge Pearce said. “When you live alone and stuff like that, and you’ve been operated on, you know, that’s kind of rough.”

Pearce knows what it’s like not to be able to pay your water bill. The vietnam war veteran would go to the local stream to get water for his everyday needs. Now he’s one of many people in New Hanover County who has benefited from the CFPUA’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors program.

“There’s so many families out there that are strapped for everything,” United Way of the Cape Fear Area President Chris Nelson said. “They’re making decisions between food or utilities, so they’re eating. Hence they don’t have water.”

That’s why the CFPUA started Neighbors Helping Neighbors back in 2009. Because it is a charity program, the CFPUA cannot manage it. Instead the utility teamed up with the Salvation Army and United Way.

“The source of the funds is two different sources right now,” Nelson said. “One is to pay the city for their storm water and their trash, and the second fund is the actual CFPUA to help people either turn their water on or to pay some past bills.”

The United Way says donated money goes directly to the utility, and no cash is put in anyone’s hands. Both the donor and the Salvation Army determine who will get the assistance by looking at applicants and their level of need.

Pearce heard about the program after we reported on a large donation last month. He says the program is a blessing for those in need

“I don’t care who you are or what race you are or whatever,” Pearce said. “We all are in this country together and we need to learn to live together. We need to learn to reach out to one another unselfishly.”

The United Way says it expects to have the $10,000 the county collected available for the program this week.

More: continued here

Berger goes off on StarNews reporter in e-mail

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Brian Berger sent another scathing, rambling manifesto of an email today, this time to StarNews reporter Shannan Bowen.

Monday, Bowen, along with this TV station, did a story on Berger’s vote not to help raise private donations to send to CFPUA that would help people who have had their water turned off. He said instead, the commission should look and change the rate structure…a structure he as a CFPUA Board Member voted to approve back in April.

Below, we have posted the minutes from that meeting. But first, here’s his email to Bowen:

Subject line: Your Last Dishonest Report – Write All the Fiction You Want, I’m Done With Your Hate-Fueled Distortions and Lies.

“But Berger voted last year in favor of CFPUA’s rate model – which included increases in water and sewer rates – when he served on the authority’s board.”

This is straight low level reporting that looks like regurgitated from the CFPUA high-paid PR staff and jason thompson, along with other Board members, CFPUA senior staff…I kee p giving you the benefit of the doubt while you regurgutate the “spin” handed to you without histrocuial context or pre-exisiting knowledge of the issues.

I cant answer questions anymore or discuss policy when the pattern of propaganda and “lost” context, printing spin from PR staff and agenda-driven officials and staff with no chance to respond. I cant give the benefit of the doubt anymore.

The statement quoted above is not accurate, and so convulated that it loses any semblance of factual accueracy presenting this prograganda from a source that should be identified and I can’t rehash six years of work and study I’ve devoted to the CFPUA..only to have dostortions and spin presented to butter up those you see as career-steps and consistent with the WSN’ agenda.

I wont discuss any issue again when the reporter’s agenda is so skewed and superficial and inaccurate, incredibly simplisitic and a nice team effort between a group of elected, appointed and staff officials, and a reporter eager to side with the team of insiders and join their efforts to “spin” news into fiction and interview no other “experts” or allow for a response.

I made room for your lack of knowledge given your newcomer status to these debates…but this is your tenth, roughly in a row biased, uninformed or intentionally misinformed report where your clear agenda is to bash me without regard for facts or honest reporting. I know its complex, but regurgitating “spin” and your clear hostility and agenda to bash me and pay no mind to impartial, accurate reporting, I will not be talking to you again.

Have fun in your club of social climbing, unethical reporters and PR spinsters like Carey Ricks, a lobbyist for the special interests that created and mainain the disaster that is the CFPUA.

I will never answer another question from you, after all the amateur and fictional reporting, hostile and dishonest, and consistent with your nearly perfect record of making everything you write an attack on me. You don’t care about the truth, or accuracy, and don’t bother asking me to participate in your fictional reporting anymore.

Your Agenda is obvious, its dishonest, and today was our last conversation. Your last distorted attack story that ignores 90% of the facts to manipulate the 10-percent to do what you have done for months, EVERYTHING you call a report is just amaterish regurgitation of rumor and lies, while you suck up to fulfill your ambitions with no integrity whatsover.

Case and point, I handed you an exclusive story and because it didn’t make me the total bad guy you never paid it a second thought. Thats not reputable journalism, and your agenda is vicious, indecent, dishonest, and I will never respond to you again. Please do not even contact me again, I pray you learn to appreciate and report the truth or honestly reveal your false reports and gossip – and agenda.

I gave you a chance at an exclusive mere days ago, but I see you tossed it in trash cause the facts werent consistent with the lies you’ve been telling for months. Your little agenda against me cost you a story that might have gotten you some acclaim, real journalism, but you’re just a gossip, mean-spirited, dishonest dime a dozen amatuer, trying to fit in with your constant, biased, fictitious personal attacks with no basis in truth. I offered you a real story with real evidence, but you prefer adolescent gossip…more important to you than the truth.

Fool me 9 times I’ll put up with it. Throw a factual exclusive in the trash to push more vile spiteful attacks at me, and that’s it.

Good luck. Keep your deceitful “reports” coming. I’ve heard less gossip and misplaced rumors in teenagers conversations than in your agenda-driven, weak reporting. I’m ashamed for you. I thought you might have some integrity and talent, but you’ve shown none of either.

Your so blinded by your agenda to attack me, the easy target, you completely passed on the one story that hasn’t been told, the truth, which I was prepared to hand to you, did hand some to you…what a mistake to trust you or even consider you a professional. Your neither.

Brian M. Berger
New Hanover County Commissioner
230 Government Center Drive, Suite 175
Wilmington, NC 28403
office: 910-798-7149
cell: 910-431-3115


CFPUA April 13, 2011 Board Minutes where Berger voted to raise rates…

Revenue Discussion and Vote:

Mr. Smith recommended that the Authority pass an Ordinance for rates to produce a 13.1 revenue increase, for bills generated on or after May 1, 2011. Mr. Sparks seconded the motion.

Ms. Spivey and Mr. Smith answered questions from Authority members regarding efficiencies, debt coverage, and future bond issuance.

Mr. Catlin offered an amendment to the motion stating that the rates could be amended if the pending efficiency study indicated savings that could offset rates. Mr. Smith did not accept the amendment to his motion. Mr. Renzaglia seconded Mr. Catlin’s amendment.

Mr. Renzaglia called the question on the amendment. Ms. Wolf, Ms. Kusek, and Messrs. Renzaglia, Berger, Rivenbark, Quinn, Catlin, Brown, Hearne, and Sparks voted in favor of the amendment. Mr. Smith was opposed. Motion carried, ten to one.

Mr. Renzaglia called the question on the amended motion. Ms. Kusek, Ms. Wolfe and Messrs. Renzaglia, Smith, Rivenbark, Quinn, Catlin, Brown, Hearne, and Sparks voted in favor of the amended motion. Mr. Berger was opposed. Amended motion carried, ten to one.

Rate Tier Discussion and Vote:

Mr. Smith reported that the Committee recognized a desire to increase the gallons available in usage tiers and that there was some sentiment in support of uniform rates.

Mr. Sparks moved to adopt the Ordinance as recommended by the Committee, with the following tier distinctions:

0-12,000 gallons/12,000 – 24,000 gallons/24,001 and over/eliminate fixed charge for irrigation meters where there is a primary water meter.

Mr. Smith seconded the motion.

The Board reviewed what RATE INCREASES would be on “average” bills at each block.

Mr. Catlin expressed concern regarding potential saltwater intrusion into the aquifers stemming from irrigation wells. He offered a substitute motion for a uniform rate without tiers. Mr. Rivenbark seconded the motion.

There was a discussion regarding uniform rates and whether it was appropriate to go to a uniform rate at this time or at a future point. Board members also discussed the increased cost to customers under a uniform rate, and the conservation of water as a natural resource.

Mr. Renzaglia called the question on the substitute motion to adopt a uniform rate with no tiers. Ms. Wolf and Messrs. Berger , Rivenbark, Catlin, and Brown voted in favor of the motion. Ms. Kusek and Messrs. Renzaglia, Smith, Quinn, Sparks, and Hearne voted against the motion. The substitute motion was defeated, six to five.

More: continued here



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